For many Jews on the left, particularly the moderate or liberal left, there is a preoccupation — some might even say an obsession — with finding the so-called “line” between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, between legitimate, even if harsh, criticism of Israel and an attack on the Jewish people as a whole.

Given Jewish history and the rise in antisemitism during and since the Trump years, one can understand the vigilance. Several antisemitic incidents during Israel’s latest criminal onslaught on the Gaza Strip cast a spotlight on the question again.

Yet the question itself is contentious at best. Anti-Zionism, criticism of…

Israel levels a building housing international media in Gaza

Just before I started writing this, reports came in that a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas had been reached. I hope by the time you read this it is still holding.

In any case, over the past two weeks I’ve watched many discussions and debates about Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip. Some have been familiar, others have taken on some new tones and nuances that, I think, reflect a growing disillusionment with Israel and a growing understanding that Palestinians have been denied the basic rights that most of us expect as a matter of course.

In those conversations…

Professor Stephen Walt of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard recently wrote an interesting piece for Foreign Policy where he posed the question of whether the rest of the world might prefer China’s “world order” to that of the United States. …

As I write this, a jury is deliberating the fate of former cop Derek Chauvin, who murdered George Floyd in front of the whole world. There will be no happy ending in this case.

I’d guess that most people believe Chauvin will be found guilty, but would it really be that shocking to see the jury deadlock because one or more of them thought he was a cop doing his job, maybe one who lost his head in the heat of the moment? It seems unfathomable to me, but far more improbable things have happened in American courts. …

Neera Tanden

As I write this, the fate of President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, remains unknown. At least one Democrat — Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who would have been comfortably in the center of the Republican party of thirty years ago — has already said he will vote against her nomination. Some relatively moderate Republicans, such as Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, have also indicated they will vote against Tanden. It is very possible that Tanden will become the first major defeat of Biden’s term. …

Photo by Libertinus, used under a Creative Commons license

Well, Michael Che certainly stirred things up, didn’t he? With one little joke, really a throwaway line in Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” sketch, Che set social media abuzz and sent pro-Israel activists into a tizzy.

The joke? “Israel is reporting that they vaccinated half of their population,” said Che, the show’s co-head writer, “and I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half.”

Always on the lookout for anything that can possibly be interpreted as antisemitic, especially when the alleged antisemite is not white nor from the right wing, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and others pounced on…

There is a gaping whole in the fabric of the U.S. constitutional system, one that has been horribly exposed and presents a danger that all Americans, regardless of political affiliation, should be able to unite to confront.

The danger of an autocratic, ambitious person rising up to throttle what democracy we have in this country is very real and has perhaps never been more apparent than it is right now. Yes, Donald Trump is out of office, but the wounds he left are yawning and inviting the next aspiring autocrat to take his place.

Some have made the staggeringly incorrect…

Photo by Turnip 1

In the wake of the attempted coup at the United States Capitol building this week, calls for impeachment or for invoking the 25th Amendment have erupted like a geyser. Speaking for the minority, I have argued that these are not realistic ambitions. But there is a way forward, one which is not getting nearly enough attention, but which stands a better than even chance of success.

Neither impeachment nor the 25th Amendment are realistic. Both ultimately depend on a 2/3 vote in the Senate. Impeachment requires that for conviction of a president and removal from office. The 25th does not…

As the month of August gave way to September, one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history fell victim to a combination of Lewy body dementia and Covid-19.

Tom Seaver was likely the best pitcher it was ever my privilege to watch. His fastball, powered by the bets use of powerful legs of any pitcher ever, was dominant, and he threw it with such consistency and accuracy that a hitter who wasn’t aggressive at the plate against him would find himself in an 0–2 hole very quickly.

But try and gear up for that fastball, and he’d throw a slider…

Karen Bass with John Lewis in Ghana

I’ve long believed that Biden will pick Kamala Harris as his VP nominee. I’m not a fan of hers, but there aren’t many good options. Still, there is one.

Karen Bass is someone centrists would have a tough time objecting to but would help sway progressives to get out the vote.

In terms of a progressive option, I don’t believe Elizabeth Warren is seriously being considered, both because too many centrists hate her and because the Democrats don’t want an all-white ticket. The latter is a good reason, the former is certainly not one I care about. Whether your views…

Mitchell Plitnick

Author of "Except for Palestine," with Marc Lamont Hill. President of ReThinking Foreign Policy, writer, speaker, Podcaster, blogger.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store